Exalted Humility

Luke 18:14 – “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Excessive pride usually leads to some kind of humility (or rather humiliation). Genuine humility, on the other hand, frequently leads to recognition and reward.

My Advice – Do not blow your own horn too loudly. Good work and accomplishment will usually be recognized and rewarded for what it is. Even if it is not, God knows and you will be rewarded later.

Thanks(and)giving

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Deuteronomy 8:10When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God.  (NIV 1984)

My Musings – We are celebrating Thanksgiving in the U.S. (I have readers and followers from other countries).  It originated with the Pilgrims as a harvest festival, and has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789, following a proclamation by the country’s first President George Washington (after a request by Congress no less).  Its celebration was intermittent until the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, when Thanksgiving became a federal holiday in 1863, during the American Civil War. Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” (Wikipedia)

As a nation, we have so much to be thankful for since that first Thanksgiving when the future might not have look so bright.  To a large extent, we (but not all) eat and are satisfied.  We’ve (but not all) built homes and settled down.  Our (but not all) bounty has increased and multiplied.  But perhaps also to a large degree, we (but also not all) have become proud.  Perhaps we’ve (but not all) forgotten Who is responsible for our blessings.  I think maybe (maybe not all) Congress has.

My Advice –  Give thanks to God, not just on the fourth Thursday of November, but every day.  Not just when we eat and are satisfied, but when we are in want.  Not just when we are settled in nice homes, but when we are left “out in the cold.”  Not just when our bounty is increasing and multiplying, but it is dwindling away.

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13, NIV 1984)

And when we are satisfied, when we are settled, when things are bountiful, let’s not forget that after the thanks comes giving.  For there are many, in our country and many more abroad, that have little to nothing to eat.  They have no shelter over their heads.  They have nothing to multiply (zero times infinity is still zero).

If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident. (Leviticus 25:35, NIV 1984, emphasis added).

God’s blessings to all my readers.

If He Repents…

Luke 17:3If your brother sins rebuke him and if he repents, forgive him. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – We like the part where we get to rebuke, and we are quick to do so. But when it comes time to forgive, we would rather maintain a grudge. This should not be.

My Advice – Always be willing to forgive sincere repentance, no matter how badly you were wronged. Just imagine what it would be like if God had been unwilling to forgive.

Still A Long Way

Luke 15:20 – “But while he was still a long way off, his Father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; He ran to His son, threw His arms around him and kissed him.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – The first thing to note is that the Father was expecting the son’s return. He was looking for Him. The second thing to note is that the son did not have to meet his father all the way or even halfway. While he was a “long” way off the Father ran to meet him. Finally, the Father welcomed the wayward son back.

My Advice – Do not be hesitant to move back towards God, believing that you are unworthy to be called His child. He is watching for you and will run to meet you with outstretched arms.

Sawdust

Luke 6:41 – “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – It is human nature to focus on the faults of others while overlooking our own. Perhaps we would have more compassion and understanding for others if we paid more attention to our own?

My Advice – Do not be so critical of others that you fail to see your own shortcomings.

Shore Leave

Luke 5:11So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed Him. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Few have such a ready willingness to give up professions and possessions to follow Christ. But because He gave up so much for us, we should be willing to do the same.

My Advice – Do not become so attached to worldly possessions or positions that they become too costly for you to give up if God calls you to follow Him where you cannot take them.

Where’s Brother Waldo?

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Romans 12:18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (NIV 1984)

My Musings – All too often, whenever a potentially divisive issue is discussed, either the truth is compromised in the name of love, or love is compromised in the name of truth, as if the two (love and truth) were mutually exclusive. They are not. The reason we know they are not is that Christians are called to speak the truth in love.

  • Truth – Being prepared to speak the truth is more than merely knowing what we believe. It also means that we are able to provide clear reasons for why we hold the beliefs and convictions that we do. If we cannot do this, the truth may not be compromised (the truth remains the truth), but our credibility can certainly be questioned.
  • Love – We should also be prepared to communicate the truth in a gentle and respectful manner whenever called to do so. While we would expect the same from those with opposing beliefs and convictions (especially if they too are Christians) this is not always the case. When this is not the case, it is not an excuse to throw love out the window. For even if we are equipped with the full knowledge of the truth and can eloquently and convincingly communicate it “in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, [we are] only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” We merely end up winning the argument while losing the heart. In essence, “[we] gain nothing.
  • Truth and Love – “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle [beliefs, convictions], you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” – Rick Warren
  • Conscience – We must remain faithful to both the truth (as the Holy Spirit instructs us in the truth) and love (as our Savior modeled for us). This is really the only way we can keep a clear conscience and maintain our credibility with others.

As we Christians watch our views become ever more unpopular in an increasingly polarized culture, the temptation to defend ourselves in vitriolic, even hateful, ways will grow. As we interact with others virtually or in our communities, we must remember our call to live like Jesus. We must not adopt secular rules of engagement regardless of whether culture is religious or irreligious.Ed Stetzer

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My Advice – Always do your best to take the high road.